Iza’s Highlights of 2014 (part 1: Metal)

It’s been an eventful year for alternative music. Not only were there lots of great new albums and shows but also some old bands like At The Gates coming back after a long break. For this year’s summary I’ve decided to focus on the albums that caught my attention:

Best Metal albums

1. Behemoth – The Satanist
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

This is without doubt my favourite release of 2014 and the metal album which I’ve listened to the most this year. I simply can’t get enough it. It’s been five years since ‘Evangelion’ but it was definitely worth the wait. ‘The Satanist’ is multi-faceted and very complex as an album but that’s why I like it so much. It combines the brutality old Behemoth with the atmosphere and the “epic” feel of their newer work. Best tracks: ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’, ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’.

2. Vader – Tibi et Igni
Genre: Death Metal

The Polish death metal titans are back. I’ve been a fan of their music for over a decade. While I enjoyed their previous effort ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ it’s no much for this. In my opinion ‘Tibi et Igni’ is their best album after my all time favourite ‘ Black To The Blind’. If you’re a Vader like me then you probably know what to expect: aggressive and brutal death metal with thrash metal guitar mixed in. Best tracks: ”Go To Hell’, Hexenkessel’, ‘Triumph of Death’.

3. Kampfar – Djevelmakt
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

It’s been twenty years since Kampfar was formed and there’s no better way to celebrate the anniversary than with a new album. And what an album it is! ‘Djevelmakt’ is every bit as haunting and atmospheric as its predecessor ‘Mare’. Best tracks: ‘Mylder’ , ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, ‘Our Hounds, Our Legion’.

4. Sabaton – Heroes
Genre: Power Metal


Sabaton is one of the very few power metal bands I listen to. ‘Heroes’ might be a follow up to ‘Carolus Rex’ but it is very different both in terms of the themes and the overall structure. Here each song tells a story, of an individual or small group whose actions left their mark on history. Best tracks: ‘Nightwitches’, ‘To Hell and Back’ and ‘Resist and Bite’.

5. At The Gates – At War Reality
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


It’s been a while…These guys haven’t released an album since ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ back in 1995. What ever their reasons were for such a long break, I’m just glad that they’re back. The new album ‘At War With Reality’ combines the older style with their more experimental phase ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. Best tracks ‘Heroes and Tombs’ and ‘The Night Eternal’.

6. Metsatöll – Karjajuht
Genre: Folk Metal


The Estonian wolf-pack have returned. Like it’s predecessor ‘Ulg’, this album follows their tried and tested formula of catchy heavy metal with traditional Estonian folk instruments. Best tracks: ‘Külmking’ and ‘Lööme mesti’ (featuring Jonne Järvelä from Korpiklaani).

7. Vallenfyre – Splinters
Genre: Death/ Doom Metal


This band first got my attention due to the impressive line-up; it features members of both Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride as well as Adrian Erlandsson on drums. In many ways it reminds me of old Entombed, Celtic Frost as well as as the early works of Paradise Lost. Best tracks: ‘Bereft’ and ‘Splinters’.

Stay tuned for part 2: Industrial edition coming soon.

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